key words of the nuclear arms race

a2 history with edexcel

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  • Created by: Cara
  • Created on: 05-06-12 20:28

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Nuclear Arms Race Key Words
Technical details
Effects of explosion
Methods of delivering
Disarmament process
Related ideas/concepts
A-bomb Bomb made by splitting the atoms of some very heavy elements (plutonium and
H-bomb Bomb made by joining together very light elements (such as hydrogen or
Proliferation The increase in the number, type and geographic spread of nuclear weapons
Submarine Nuclear missile that can be fired from submarines
Launched Ballistic
Missile (SLBM)
Blast The wave of power that is produced by a nuclear explosion
Multiple Missiles that have many warheads that can be targeted separately
Vehicles (MIRV)
Deterrence Targeting your weapons at your enemy's weapons (not civilians)
Balance of TerrorThe belief that the nuclear arms race kept the peace because both sides were
too frightened of the consequences of a nuclear conflict
Mutually Assured The belief that a nuclear conflict would guarantee the complete destruction of
Destruction both sides
Zero-sum game A contest in which the only outcome can be the complete destruction of your
opponents (not one in which both contestants are left standing at the end)
ICBM A missile that can be fired from one continent and reach another
Heat The second effect of a nuclear attack which can result in terrible burns and the
vaporization of people
Arms reductions Talks designed to reduce the number of nuclear weapons
Radiation Debris that is sucked into the explosion is poisoned by the explosion and falls as
dust with long-term damaging effects
Arms limitation Talks designed to stop the increase in the number of weapons
Fission The splitting of the atom to produce intense heat and radiation
Fusion The joining of atoms to produce a thermo-nuclear reaction, involving an intense
amount of heat
Intermediate Missile that can be fired from one country to hit another within the same
Range Ballistic continent
Missile (IRBM)
Strategic The use of missiles over the greatest range to impact on a very wide scale
Strategic Air The USA's air force division with responsibility for delivering nuclear missiles
Tactical The use of missiles over a short-range, e.g. deploying them like ordinary
weapons on a battle field
Unilateral One side only reducing its number of weapons

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Multilateral Two sides reducing their number of weapons
Thermo-nuclear The bomb produced by nuclear fusion
Cruise missile A missile which can be piloted from a distance as if it was an aeroplane
Nuclear winter The change in environmental conditions caused by dust caused by a nuclear
explosion blocking out the sun's light
Early Warning Systems designed to predict an in-coming nuclear attack
Counter-force The idea that the main purpose of possession of nuclear weapons is to prevent
your enemies from launching an attack…read more


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